Sketching group enlists real-life superheroes

Daniel Morris introduces Sketch Up and its high-flying life models: the art jam where it’s all a bit of a circus.

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This sketch group is anything but staid

Superheroes willing to sit for portraits are scarce. That's what Daniel Morris found. So he decided to set up an art group featuring the next best thing: circus performers.

Daniel enlisted the services of Gravity Circus Centre's Yam Doyev. With the exclusive use of his circus training space in London, and its performers as models, Sketch Up was born.

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This "Daredevil" dons a mask to really give the artists a spark of superhero inspiration

"When I want to sketch a superhero pose," the Sketch Up founder says,
"it's difficult to get accurate source material.

"I realised the potential of using circus performers – tightrope walkers, trapeze artists – modelling positions that simply can’t be seen in a typical life-drawing sessions."

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The seeds were sewn when Daniel Morris noticed how difficult it was to accurately draw superhero poses

The group was also conceived to give artists a sense of community, an environment encouraging the exchange of ideas and opportunities to collaborate on more ambitious projects, such as graphic novels and animations.

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The performers from Gravity Circus Centre are strong enough to hold unusual poses for long periods of time, for the benefit of the artists.

"This doesn’t happen sat alone behind a computer screen," Daniel says. "I was always a little envious of the huge art communities in places such as the US. They seem to often meet face-to-face and share their passion for art. I found it odd that, in London, people were content to communicate solely through forums.

"Maybe I'm being a little traditional, but I value the social aspect of art as much as developing my art, so I was keen to place a flag in the ground and say: let’s meet here."

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Gravity trains in many circus skills, from juggling and “tumbling” to the German wheel and Chinese pole

For more information on Sketch Up click here.

This article originally appeared in ImagineFX issue no. 108

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